The early returns on the 2023 season for the Denver Broncos do not look pretty, and as of now, these three positions appear to be the highest priority for the team to fix for 2024. I think it was reasonable to expect a decline on defense in 2023, but to this degree is something that I don't think any one of us saw coming. Not only is the defense bad, but it's the worst in the NFL right now after being one of the best in 2022.
That can easily boil down to the scheme and play-calling between Ejiro Evero and Vance Joseph. I don't think you need to be an expert on the Xs and Os to see that Joseph is clearly not doing something right. However, there is also a huge amount of blame on George Paton, who built this defense.
Paton should probably be fired, but that's a different story. No matter if Paton sticks around for 2024 or if there is a new GM in town, the Denver Broncos need to fix these three positions next offseason.
3 positions the Denver Broncos must upgrade next offseason
Damarri Mathis should have already been benched for his play over the first three weeks. It doesn't appear that he's been benched as of yet. After a pretty encouraging rookie season, Mathis looks like the worst CB in football. He's already given up a metric ton of catches, yards, and a few scores. Mathis was a George Paton draft pick back in 2022 and doesn't look like a starting CB in the NFL.
If the Denver Broncos do plan on keeping Patrick Surtain II around, they won't have to do a ton of work to fix the CB unit. Slot cornerback K'Waun Williams seems to be working his way back, but he's on the wrong side of 30 and is often hurt. Denver should go into the 2024 offseason with the idea that they need a legitimate CB2 and a starting slot CB.
I think guys like Mathis, Essang Bassey, and Ja'Quan McMillian could potentially have roles as rotational pieces, but I think it'd be malpractice to view any of these players as starters. The Broncos need to invest more resources into CB this offseason.
They could chase a free agent or two and look to the 2024 NFL Draft to round out this unit, which should be one of the best in the NFL.